Written Answers - Nursing Home Subventions.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 666 No. 1

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  224.  Deputy Richard Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   her estimate of the take-up of the fair deal scheme in each of the next five years; the funding shortfall from direct contributions by patients which will be carried by the State in each year; the funding to be met in each year by patients opting for deferral under the scheme; and the estimated annual recovery of funds deferred following the wind up of estates in each year. [38884/08]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Máire Hoctor): Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal, is designed to ensure that nursing home care is affordable for all who need it. As such, my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, and I expect that the majority of subvented and unsubvented residents in private nursing homes will apply for the scheme upon its introduction. Thereafter, the scheme will apply to all new entrants to public, voluntary and approved private nursing homes who wish to avail of State support towards nursing home costs.

The following table sets out the most recently updated estimates of the total number of nursing home residents, the cost of contributions by residents and the cost of financial support by the State in the first 5 years of the Scheme. The costings take a whole of system approach. For example, they take account of existing public residents who will continue to pay public long-stay charges towards their care as well as those paying contributions under A Fair Deal. I would like to emphasise that figures are based on 2009 estimates, including estimated 2009 costs and prices. As the costings are extremely sensitive to assumptions about price and available capacity, the actual numbers supported under the scheme will be, to a significant degree, contingent upon the prices agreed between private nursing homes and the National Treatment Purchase Fund, and developments in the private nursing home sector.

Table 1: Long-Term Residential Care Costs — Estimate

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Estimated Approx. Number in Long-term Residential Care 23,300 23,800 24,300 24,800 25,300
Total Cost of Long-term Residential Care €1,252m €1,280m €1,310m €1,324m €1,345m
Estimated total value of income contributions only from nursing home residents €230m €246m €266m €274m €280m
Total Exchequer Expenditure Requirement (State support plus Ancillary State support) €1,022m €1,034m €1,044m €1,050m €1,065m
Estimated total value of deferred contributions €92m €129m €168m €168m €171m

Finally, the Deputy has asked about the estimated annual recovery of deferred funds following the settlement of estates. It is not feasible to estimate this with any degree of reliability. This is because the recovery of such funds will be contingent upon the a range of factors, including the life expectancy of nursing homes residents, the rate of further deferral by spouses, partners and connected persons, the life expectancy of such spouses, partners and connected persons and the time taken to settle individual estates. We will, however, continually monitor the amounts being recovered in order to underpin future assumptions and costings for the scheme.

  225.  Deputy Richard Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   the distribution by the projected length of stay in nursing homes of persons to be admitted under the fair deal nursing home scheme which underpins the cost estimates in each of the next five years. [38885/08]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Máire Hoctor): Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  I would firstly like to clarify for the Deputy that the cost estimates which underpin the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal, are based predominantly on average length of stay rather than on the distribution of nursing home residents by projected length of stay. However, the distribution data which was used to inform the costings for the scheme was taken from the Department of Health and Children’s Long-Stay Activity Statistics.

The Long-Stay Activity Statistics 2006 offer the following distribution of long-stay patients by length of stay:

Less than 3 mths-24.5%

3 to 6 mths-12.7%

6 to 12 mths-13.6%

1 to 2 yrs-15.8%

2 to 4 yrs-17%

4 to 6 yrs-8.2%

6 to 10 yrs-5.8%

Over 10 yrs-2.4%


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